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Thieves rob shelter, animals

April 19, 2011

Thieves who robbed the Humane Society of Catawba County on Monday night didn't just steal from the non-profit agency.

They stole from the animals it works to protect.

"It is quite heart-breaking that someone would break in and steal," said Juli Reed with HSCC. "It is heart-breaking that somebody would take advantage of us and the animals."

When Humane Society staff members arrived at the facility on 20th Avenue Southeast on Tuesday morning, they immediately saw signs of a break-in.

"One of our staff members who came in early to open up walked in and saw the glass broken in the front door," Reed said. "Apparently, somebody threw a large brick through our front door and broke out all the glass and stole our donation jar."

HSCC Executive Director Jane Bowers said animals inside the no-kill animal shelter were not harmed. On average, the facility is home to 100-120 cats and dogs, combined, as well as "house cats" that roam the facility.

"Luckily all the animals were safe," Bowers said. "Our first concern was the animals and making sure (the shelter's house cats) hadn't escaped through the open door."

Thieves who took the shelter's donation jar probably stole about $100, Bowers estimated.

"It is a little upsetting that somebody would stoop to that level," she said.

The jar, Reed said, was in view of the front door and a sign welcomed donations. Often children visiting the facility drop dollar bills into the jar, Bowers said.

"People drop cash in there on a regular basis," Reed said, adding Humane Society staff members try to empty the jar regularly, but after a busy weekend, it was filled with donations. "Probably not more than $100, and it may not sound like a lot to a lot of people, but to us and our animals, it is a lot."

Donations collected by HSCC go toward the operational costs of the facility, including utilities and the general day-to-day care of the animals, Bowers said. Animals rescued by the no-kill shelter also receive vaccinations, and may are spayed and neutered. Donations fund these efforts, too.

"It is extremely important to us. We are a non-profit animal rescue, and we rely solely on donations from the public," Reed said, adding Catawba County's humane society isn't supported any government, tax dollars or the national humane society. "In the economy as it is today, everything counts to us ... We are always grateful for financial donations. It helps us help the animals. The more we have the more we can do."

Now, humane society officials are faced with security questions.

"We have to reconsider whether we can have something out conveniently so small children can put a dollar bill in. Either that or we have got to make it more secure, or do something else," Bowers said. "I would love to have security system, but that is something that isn't in my budget. Unless somebody wants to donate it, that is something I would have to fund in another way. That would be money that doesn't go to the animals."

To make a financial donation to the Humane Society of Catawba County, call 464-8878, visit the shelter during operating hours or visit www.catawbahumane.org for more information.

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